Monday, 17 January 2011
Judge Semi Epati
The Sunday Star Times published an article about Judge Epati going on stress leave. If there ever was a court where stress leave was needed, it would be the Manukau Court, which has one of the busiest judicial workloads in the country. The article criticised him for 2 decisions (over about 9 years on the bench) where his decisions were overturned on appeal. That isn't a bad rate for the number of decisions over that time, and must be a reflection of the stress he is under. My personal experience is that he is always courteous and has a quick wit, often useful for defusing the tense atmosphere. With this comes compassion and a real insight into the South Auckland culture, I hope he has the chance to recover and get back to work. I wonder whether judges sometimes need to compensate and talk to counsellors. The grim side of criminal law can be unrelenting. Mediators are careful to engage in peer support but judges are expected to be pretty tough. This cannot be true for all and we could lose good judges because of the lack of outlets for them to compensate.